Traveling Across Time Zones

Traveling Across Time Zones with a Baby

First of all, this photo!!! It was from our Bermuda trip back in September when Amalia was only 11 weeks old. She was so tiny!

Later this week, Anel and I are flying with her for the second time to LA for my grandfather’s funeral and for her to meet my mom’s extended family. As the date approaches, we’re getting more and more nervous about how it’s going to go when we get there.

For the plane ride, we feel (kind of) confident because we booked her an extra seat so that she can sleep in her car seat (hopefully) for her naps. We’re bringing plenty of toys and books to distract her and have plans to switch off being on duty. When we land, my mom is going to scoop us up so that we don’t have to deal with Ubers or rental cars.

But that’s when we think the real fun will begin…

When we land it will be around 3pm PST which is her bedtime on the east coast. Do we put her to bed at 3pm or try to hold her off? As of now, we’re trying to push everything 15 minutes later each day until we leave so that she’s at least a little bit closer to west coast time.

But honestly we have no idea what we’re doing. Different friends have given us conflicting advice so I want to hear from you guys! What have you done that works when traveling across time zones with your littles?

Reminder: Mom talk is made up of shorter posts where I share a “momproblem” I’m having and ask for your advice. The idea is that all moms can benefit from the comments below! Have an idea for mom talk? Send it my way: julia@lemonstripes.com

View all posts in:

Comments

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Meredith said:

    Definitely encourage napping on the plane, that way you can get her to sleep at a regular time when you land. When my one year old has had to deal with time changes, there’s been so much stuff to see and people to play with that he didn’t want to sleep anyways.

    1.29.18 · Reply
    • Got it! Will definitely encourage napping. Now if only she listens… 🙂

      1.30.18 · Reply
  2. Caryn Steinman said:

    Please be sure to follow-up with us on what you did/how it went! I have the same questions as we’re traveling to the West Coast in a few weeks with our 7 month old!

    1.29.18 · Reply
  3. Charo del Campo said:

    The first two days will be difficult, so prepare for that, allow more flexibility in times and just listen to what Amalia needs. Sometimes jetlag is difficult for adults so imagine for the little one changing environment, overload of new people and different times, just follow your mama instinct and don’t over stress your self, if she needs to sleeps she will let you know just remember flexibility. Good luck in your travel and so sorry for your lost.

    1.29.18 · Reply
  4. Barbara said:

    Talk with your doctor, but I gave a touch of Benadryl to my boy as a baby when we had to go to Oregon for a wedding as a baby coming from RI (he was 5 months old) It really helped him adjust to west coast time. I also scheduled flights around sleep as well.

    1.29.18 · Reply
    • We’re seeing the ped today so going to ask her about that for sure.

      1.31.18 · Reply
  5. Jessica said:

    My advice would be to maintain a normal bedtime and bedtime routine in your current time zone—I have found that this works pretty well.

    1.29.18 · Reply
    • I feel like everyone is saying this! Will be annoying there but probably worth it in the end 🙂

      1.31.18 · Reply
  6. Elisabeth Rigo said:

    I took my two month daughter to Paris for Christmas and I planned our flights around her regular schedule. It worked perfectly with her feeding and napping time. I also used the Soly wrap which was awesome. She would just fall asleep in it and it allowed me to walk her up and down the aisle with ease if she became fuzzy which was rare.

    I think the most important tip would be to be as relaxed as possible about this whole trip. I believe (and people might disagree) that the more relaxed you are the more relaxed your child will be.

    You might be surprised by Amelia and the way she adapts. She may not suffer from jetlag. I am saying that as my daughter adapted to the time difference very quickly.

    1.29.18 · Reply
  7. Abby said:

    Honestly, we flew to Vancouver with Sadie and were terrified of it messing up her sleep but the kid adapted straight away! Don’t be too nervous about it – the babes are far more adaptable than we are and they do it quickly

    1.29.18 · Reply
  8. Kendra said:

    We went to Hawaii (2 hours behind west coast) for Christmas this year and the baby was 5.5 months old. He woke up every day at 4:45 instead of 6:45. The hardest part was evenings since we didn’t want to be tied down at 4:45 PM and miss out on dinners. He woke up early regardless of what time we put him down. In retrospect we would have just kept him on his schedule so he wasn’t overtired the whole trip.

    1.29.18 · Reply
  9. Melody said:

    We flew from NYC to the west coast when our daughter was 11 months olds. Adjusting her bedtime was relatively easy, but no matter what we did, she woke up around 4:30 am every morning. I think our mistake was immediately trying to adopt the same bedtime instead of allowing her to just fall asleep when she was tired (which was usually 6 pm PST vs. 7:30-8 pm PST, which was when we were putting her down) and gradually adjusting. My experience is that overtiredness will mess up a baby’s schedule way more than time zones. So, my advice would be to put her down around 4:30 pm – 5 pm PST the first night (and just be prepared for and deal with a 4:30-5 am wake up the first morning) and then push the bedtime back by 30-45 minutes each night.

    Side note – transitioning back when we returned to NYC was a breeze, no issues whatsoever.

    1.29.18 · Reply
  10. Kate said:

    We just got back from London with our toddler, and the time changes were no big deal! Our son is nearly 18 months old, so he’s probably less adaptable than Amalia. We basically just shoved him straight into local time and went about our business. If he needed to take a quick power nap in the stroller on the go, that was fine. We stuck to his nap schedule on local time and he adapted wonderfully (one rough night on either end). It was a huge help to get OUT – our bodies are attuned to when it’s light and dark out so that helped us all.

    1.29.18 · Reply
  11. Samantha said:

    We have done a couple times with our twins who will be two next month. We had no issues with the time change and actually liked that they never fully adjusted because (we go for a quick four nights) when we came back they were back on their routine at home. We just were flexible and let them sleep when they needed to when we were out walking around.

    1.29.18 · Reply
    • Love that! I hope Amalia is just like your twins 🙂

      1.30.18 · Reply
  12. Katie said:

    We will be traveling with our 6 month old to the West Coast this Friday & I’m dreading his reaction to the time difference, mostly in the morning! The below advice is extremely helpful. Good luck!

    1.29.18 · Reply
  13. Megan said:

    We’re currently in the Kennebunks from OC with our 5 month old and I had the same worries! I think traveling and the airplane is super stimulating for them (at least that’s how it was for her!) and so she stayed up until 1:30am EST on our first night (she normally goes to bed at 5:30pm PST!!!) and woke up at 8am and has been on her normal 5:30pm-7am schedule since then! Don’t worry too much, she will figure it out! 🙂

    1.29.18 · Reply
  14. Erica said:

    The first time we traveled west to east coast with our 3 month old, we tried to keep him on west coast time since it would allow all of us to stay up later with family. We quickly realized it was best to acclimate as fast as possible to the new time zone following their normal schedule. The first day/night might be a little tough, but they adjust quickly! It’s important to be flexible. Our son slept in his crib from the day we brought him home from the hospital, but on that first trip he didn’t like the pack and play. He slept in bed between us a few hours every night. I realize that’s a big no-no, but I’m a really light sleeper and it worked for us. Good luck (and welcome to LA)!

    1.29.18 · Reply
  15. Christine said:

    Slightly off topic, but wondering if you had to get Amalia a passport for your Bermuda trip? If so any tips for getting a baby’s picture. We will be needing a passport soon for my 5 week old. Also, I’d love any tips you have for traveling abroad with a baby. We’re planning a resort vacation in Antigua early summer when our girl will be about 5 months.

    1.29.18 · Reply
    • Elisabeth Rigo said:

      Christine,

      We had to get a passport for our daughter and went to our local library. They took the picture themselves. They left our daughter in her car seat and just added a white towel behind her. They didn’t even care if she was awake or not. Hope this helps.

      ps: check your local post office they might have passport hours.

      1.30.18 · Reply
      • Christine said:

        Great information! Thank you for sharing!

        2.3.18 · Reply
    • Hi Christine! Yes we did. We downloaded the form offline and then went to our local library. They took the photo and sent everything in for us for a $35 fee. I felt more comfortable having them do and check everything so we didn’t mess it up!

      1.30.18 · Reply
      • Christine said:

        Thank you for sharing!

        2.3.18 · Reply